The Conspiracy Chronicles: July 2019

What's the buzz all about with bees?

It’s hard to bee-lieve we’ve already made it to our third edition of the Conspiracy Chronicles!

If you’re new here, hi! Every month we update you on an issue the world faces, take some time to introduce you to a thought leader we love who is tackling the problem, and, as always, leave you with some simple things you can do to contribute to the #ConspiracyofGoodness yourself!

For July, we’re seeing exploring the world of native bees!

The Problem

You may be asking, bees? Aren’t there bigger problems in the world? 

Here’s the thing, one out of every three bites of food taken around the world are because of pollinators like bees. And if we think about just the foods like fruits and vegetables we need, the importance of bees goes way up! To boil it down, if we lose our bees, we lose a significant number of pollinators, and from that, the food that keeps the world going.

So, yes, bees are really important. But it’s not just the honey bees! In fact, we’re overlooking a very important star of the pollinating world, the native bees.

Until very recently, I didn’t understand the difference between honey bees and well… all other bees. That’s until I started diving into the research for this Conspiracy Chronicle. Honey bees are actually a domesticated species. And, there are only 7 honey bee species out of the 24,000 or so bee species worldwide!

So, let’s take a minute to appreciate the native bee! Native bees tend to be far better pollinators than their honey bee friends. And the vast majority (about 90%!) are also super gentle too, so you don't have to worry about a sting from one of these little guys. So yeah, they have some serious potential when it comes to more efficiently pollinating our food systems! There’s a catch though.

In the United States, it’s estimated that one-quarter of the over 4,000 species of native bees are at an increasing risk of extinction. With issues like habitat loss, pesticide use, and a severe lack of understudying, native bees are becoming more at risk. 

Indeed, before we even have time to study and appreciate these mighty little species they could be gone!

So, what can we do to be better stewards of native bees? Why not ask the experts from our featured thought leader tackling the problem, Crown Bees!

Our Featured Thought Leader Tackling the Problem

Crown Bees takes a different approach to pollination! They recognized a few major things:

  1. The world needs pollinators

  2. Native bees are far better pollinators (doubling or tripling food yield)

  3. Hole-nesting native bees are easy for people to care for and gentle to live with

With these three factors in mind, Crown Bees is making it easy for people to raise their own local, solitary, hole-nesting bees. This helps people see higher yields in their own home or commercial gardens while supporting native bee populations!

Crown Bees can get you easily outfitted to start supporting native hole-nesting bees, and start a bee community of your own! 

They also have a great citizen science project called the Native Bee Network! The Native Bee Network is working to find, identify, and raise hole-nesting bees across North America. The data they collect as a part of the Native Bee Network goes to help researchers and farmers understand the important relationship between native bees and our food systems. The bees found and raised by this program will pollinate farms, gardens, and wild places. Because they are acclimated to their local conditions, native bees are best suited for pollinating plants in their natural ranges.

Crown Bees is championing a future where we can grow more food, in ways that are better for the environment by harnessing the amazing power of our local bee populations! 

You can check out Crown Bees and learn all kinds of amazing facts that will make you a Native Bee cheerleader by jumping over to their website!

Simple Things You Can Do!

  • Raise some Native Bees! If you want to make a change in your area, consider jumping over to the Crown Bees site and getting yourself set up to raise some native bees! Liesl and Lynda  recently got bees from Crown Bees, and it has been the easiest way in the world to become a beekeeper (the best part, they take very, very little work to sustain!)
  • Become a citizen scientist. Crown Bees is making it easy for you to join the citizen scientist movement for native bees! You can check out the Native Bee Network map, and add your own data. Or, check out this great list of citizen scientist resources all about bees!
  • Make your home or garden better for native bees!
    • Embrace diversity. Consider planting an array of flowers native to your area. Maintaining diverse flowering plants is great for native bee populations. Some native bees are specialists who need their native flowers to thrive.
    • Add More Flowers! Lawns don’t offer habitat for bees. By replacing a little of your lawn with clusters of flowering plants you’ll be mowing less and helping create more bee habitat!
    • Offer nesting spaces. Hole-nesting native bees are plentiful but are losing habitat. You can set up a bee nesting space at home super easily.
    • Avoid lawn care chemicals. Pesticides and fertilizers can kill bees and if they don’t harm bees, the smell can deter them from nesting. Native bees have short flying ranges and about 75% of native bees nest underground and need safe soil.
  • Learn more about your native bees! Native bees around the world are in trouble. By simply googling “[Your Home Country] native bees.” You’ll probably be able to find out more about your native bee populations and ways you can most directly help!

Keep Up with the Community!

We want to know how you are working to save native bees around the world! Snap a picture of some native bees or your bee hut and use #ConspiracyofGoodness to share your stories on social media!

Follow Ever Widening Circles on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter where we’ll be posting more about our native bee journey! Vermont has a lot of native bees, and we’ll be on the hunt to share them with you!

Finally, join the #CommunityofGoodness Facebook Group to see what other people are up to and share inspiration you come across.

Forward this Email to a Friend!

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Explore more!

For those wanting to dive deeper into the world of bees, we've collected some of our favorite articles we've written on the subject. Check out our specially curated circle of stories about bees all around the globe! Click here to head over and explore.

We'll see you next month!

-The Ever Widening Circles Team
Copyright © 2019 Ever Widening Circles, All rights reserved.

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